Every Stitch, Every Statement at Instinct 2017

On February 4, The Wake said goodbye to mass production and hello to the senior apparel design’s fashion show, Instinct. Fifteen sophomore designs and 19 junior designs preceded the 17 senior collections. While the idea of a strong woman ran through most of these fashion collections, other influences mixed in. There were geographical places like the twists and red rocks of Sedona and the big cities of London and New York, but there were also the things you can’t see: the spark that drives athletes, the feelings of a military man come home, and the rebellion of the modern girl gang movement.

As Kyrie Todd said in her introduction to her collection, Zhe, “Clothing gives us all an opportunity to show the world the best version of ourselves, and that really should not be dependent upon our gender.”


When you see the Instinct collection At Night by Madelyn Topp, an appropriate soundtrack could be some Rihanna, says designer Madelyn Topp. “I designed for the woman who’s super passionate about life and takes risks in her fashion choices,” she said.

To really get a sense of where her inspiration came from, though, look no further than the sky after a storm. Reds, oranges, warmth, intensity.

Photo: Sophie Stephens

Photo: Sophie Stephens

A runway walk goes by too quickly to fully see the details Megan Clarke’s collection, Aves. The warm and vibrant yellow to orange gradient was hand-dyed; the vest was quilted instead of simply sewn; handstitching was.

In a mix of modern techniques and timeless, precise tailoring methods, Clarke made one of the two all-male lines in Instinct. Her fascination with menswear’s echoes her fascination with the birds of prey that inspired the collection: both have strong silhouettes that hint at the strength they possess.

Photo: Sophie Stephens

Photo: Sophie Stephens

Sarah Mirman‘s collection Ethereal was the perfect finale of Instinct. The colors were bold, the outfits had movement, it was a little avante garde and eccentric (both nods to her cosplay background). Mirman began creating cosplay in 2008 and expanded her styles to include more Gothic and alternative tones when she started post-secondary education in 2012.

“I want to start high-class cosplay where it’s wearable outside conventions, where you can wear cat ears and have it be a normal thing,” she laughed. The strong statements, the whimsy, and the personality of her pieces made Ethereal memorable past the end of the show.

Photo: Sophie Stephens

Photo: Sophie Stephens